Thoughts about an upcoming critical three-game set at nationally-ranked North Carolina and a mid-week trip to top five Vanderbilt need to be put on hold. Prior to taking to the road for a challenging week long road trip, No.5 Louisville will host former conference mate and rival Cincinnati at Jim Patterson Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The programs - separated by a 90 minute drive on I-71 - began playing each on the diamond in 1928 and have met 177 times since, with Louisville holding a 97-80 all-time advantage. Beginning with the Metro Conference in 1978 to 2014 the Cardinals and Bearcats remained conference rivals through multiple league changes. Louisville has won eight straight home games in the series.
With an overall record of 21-22-1 entering Tuesday's contest, Cincinnati has already eclipsed last season's win total by six games and currently tops the American Athletic Conference standings at 9-5-1.
The Cardinals (35-9) have won five straight, including a weekend sweep of St. John's over the weekend, and currently sit second behind Florida State in the ACC Atlantic Division race.
Sophomore righty Kade McClure will put his perfect 8-0 record on the line tonight, taking the mound for the Cardinals. McClure, who holds a 2.50 ERA, currently ranks 10th in the nation in wins and his low 5.17 hits per nine innings average checks in at fifth nationally. Cincinnati will send sophomore left-hander A.J. Olasz (1-4, 3.52 ERA) to the mound.
Louisville, which checks in at No.2 in the latest RPI ratings, is hitting .325 (No. 5 nationally) with eight players hitting .310 or better while starting at least 19 games. Nick Solak, who recently returned from injured list, tops the team with a .444 average. Will Smith, Devin Hairston and Colby Fitch are also hitting better than .375. Corey Ray, who currently holds a .321 batting average, is among the nation's top 20 in stolen bases (35), home runs (13) and total bases (117.)
First pitch at Jim Patterson Stadium is set for 6:00 p.m. Admission is free.